Good. Evil. Bratwurst.


Posted on by arlen

“I bid good-by to a friend last night,” she said through her tears in the morning. “I loved him well, and he loved me, but he is gone today and will not return.”
Why? We sought for an answer to the question, “Why?”
“The question is vexed,” said the first. “There is no ‘why.’ There is only what is. Like life, death does not need a reason. You cannot expect meaning from an impersonal universe.”
“It is the way of things,” said the second. “Death is natural, as is life. It is the doorway through which we leave life. Less than that, it is but the name we give to that doorway. It is not the end, it is but a passageway.”
“You did not deserve him,” said the third. “He was taken from you because of that.”
“This is but another test,” said the fourth. “You will be judged by how you respond to it.”
Less than satisfied by the answers proffered (though the third had a point; we certainly didn’t deserve him) I turned, as always, to the Throne.
“Why?” I shouted through my tears. “Why have you done this to us?”
The echoes of my whisper were still reverberating, when the question returned. “Why?”
I looked up, “Yes, that is my question.”
“And that is my answer. Why do you ask me only now? When I first sent him to you, you didn’t ask me why. When, for over a decade, I let you keep him, you did not ask me why. Every day he was there he was doing my bidding, listening to you, caring for you. Every day he soothed your mind.
“And only now, after he’s faithfully toiled ten years and more at the task I gave him. Only now, after I have finally chosen to release him from that task. Only now, my child, you think to bring me the question you should have been asking every day. Only now, ‘Why?'”
He’s right, of course. Just over a decade ago, by a circuitous route that could only be ascribed to divine intervention, Patches entered our household. He was a delight, and an anchor. His graceful acrobatics entertained us. Whenever we spent too long with our heads bent over a book or a keyboard, he would swoop down upon us, enforcing a break time. He taught us that nothing was so important that it should interrupt play time. When our problems became overwhelming, he would be there to take us out of ourselves, to remind us we were not alone. Friend, confidant, taskmaster; a stern critic with a bent for sarcasm. He kept us laughing, smiling, and loving. He kept us sane. He was indeed just what we needed, Father. Thank you.
Patches, a 17-pound British Shorthair cat, dead at the age of 15, after a month-long illness that left him weighing only 6 pounds at the end. Gone, but not forgotten. No, never forgotten.

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May 2005
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